Many many thoughts are running through The Common Man's mind tonight. Here are some of them:
The Rose Bowl was terrible. Having married into a Penn State family, The Common Man was looking forward to PSU proving itself against the class of the Pac-10. But Paterno's boys were clearly outclassed by 'SC. It was torturous for a while there.
Fortunately, at 5 CST, the MLB Network went live for the first time.
The programming was up and down. The Hot Stove Live show was largely unwatchable, perhaps because nothing is really going on in the game right now, except for a segment in which the in-studio analyists break down how to steal home. As an example, they use Jackie Robinson's straight steal from the 1955 World Series. While it's unclear from the footage whether Jackie was safe or out, it's very clear that Yogi Berra (the catcher) interfered with he batter's opportunity to swing by coming forward to catch the pitch before it got to the plate. Therefore, Robinson should have been awarded home anyway.
The second program on the network, the original footage and play-by-play of Don Larson's Perfect Game in the 1956 World Series, was much better. The interviews with Larson and Berra were fairly interesting (though Berra seems to have developed a strange verbal tic where he anticipates what a speaker is going to say, and then mumbles it with them), but the game itself was wonderful. Mel Allen and Vin Scully did the announcing, Mickey Mantle hit a homerun, and the whole game was sponsored solely by Gillette (the original commercials were included). Things The Common Man learned include: Roy Campanella was an absolute truck of a man; Gillette blades come in three sizes for light, normal, and heavy duty shaves and faces; Gillette's spokesanimal in 1956, for some reason, was a parrot; Larson was aided significantly by late-afternoon shadows at the park that obscured his breaking ball and by the crowd sitting in the deep CF bleachers, since the black hitters' backdrop had been removed to squeeze in more fans; Birdie Tebbetts and Johnny Logan also use Gillette products, and Duke Snider is going to teach his son to only use Gillette; the game did indeed move a lot quicker in 1956, as both pitchers worked fast and batters tended to stay in the box between pitches (Jackie Robinson was booed when he stepped out because he had something in his eye); standard atire for a baseball fan in 1956 was a suit and tie, and probably a cigarette or twelve; while supplies last, The Common Man can get a free baseball encyclopedia at a store near him when he buys a pack of Gillette razors for only $1.
Any dude who didn't get worked up for the Clint Eastwood marathon on AMC yesterday needs to get his manliness examined by a qualified physiscian. The Common Man Tivoed The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; A Fistful of Dollars; and Kelly's Heroes. With Clint's new movie, Gran Torino, coming out next week, the network has apparently been tasked with reminding the general public of how awesome and manly Eastwood is, and how much they love him. And while you all revel in the glorious masculinity of teh Eastwood (is Eastwood the manliest of stars?), take a minute and contemplate the greatness of Eli Wallach (who, believe it or not, is still alive and kicking at 93), who created two iconic Latino characters (Calvera of The Magnificent Seven and Tuco of The Good...). Wallach's Tuco is a nuanced and moving performance, and he gives it far more depth than most Hispanic roles not written exclusively for Edward James Olmos. He has to be the most lovable Mexican villian in film history.
The Common Man hopes you had an excellent New Year's Eve and that your 2009 is excellent. So far this year, The Common Man has watched his college football team get demolished, his wife get laryngitis, his son fall and smack his face on a toy tractor, and his dog poop on the floor (because he refuses to stay outside longer than 30 seconds in the snow and cold). Also, he got peed on by The Boy (yes, again) and ran out of ice cream. 2009, baby. It's fannnnn-tastic!